Tag Archives: crime

gone

Gone (Jack Caffrey #5, Flea Marley #3, The Walking Man #3) by Mo Hayder

From Goodreads:

November in the West Country.

Evening is closing in as murder detective Jack Caffery arrives to interview the victim of a car-jacking.

He’s dealt with routine car-thefts before, but this one is different. This car was taken by force. And on the back seat was a passenger. An eleven-year-old girl. Who is still missing.

Before long the jacker starts to communicate with the police: ‘It’s started,’ he tells them. ‘And it ain’t going to stop just sudden, is it?

And Caffery knows that he’s going to do it again. Soon the jacker will choose another car with another child on the back seat.

Caffery’s a good and instinctive cop; the best in the business, some say. But this time he knows something’s badly wrong. Because the jacker seems to be ahead of the police – every step of the way…

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I absolutely loved this book. If you read professional reviews and critic reports I’m sure there will be lots of comments about the lack of writing quality, how the story skips around a lot and how some plot lines appear out of nowhere or are discarded without a thought. I don’t care! This book is all about the story and all of the above creates a frenetic pace that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and drags you along whether you want to go or not. I found it difficult to break away from reading this during the first 40% but the remainder was read virtually in one sitting this morning. I was so engrossed I even gave up on my planned 100km cycle and gave myself over to the story.

There is some development in the relationship between Flea and Jack and they both have starring roles in this book. The Walking Man also plays a more prominent role and we get to know some more of his back story. However, the story mostly focuses on “the jacker” and the search for the missing girls. It’s almost a standalone story but much more enjoyable if you have read the preceding books.

Header image by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels

scarpetta

Scarpetta (Kay Scarpetta #16) by Patricia Cornwell

From Goodreads:

Leaving behind her private forensic pathology practice in Charleston, South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta accepts an assignment in New York City, where the NYPD has asked her to examine an injured man on Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric prison ward. The handcuffed and chained patient, Oscar Bane, has specifically asked for her, and when she literally has her gloved hands on him, he begins to talk—and the story he has to tell turns out to be one of the most bizarre she has ever heard.

The injuries, he says, were sustained in the course of a murder . . . that he did not commit. Is Bane a criminally insane stalker who has fixed on Scarpetta? Or is his paranoid tale true, and it is he who is being spied on, followed and stalked by the actual killer? The one thing Scarpetta knows for certain is that a woman has been tortured and murdered—and more violent deaths will follow. Gradually, an inexplicable and horrifying truth emerges: Whoever is committing the crimes knows where his prey is at all times. Is it a person, a government? And what is the connection between the victims?

In the days that follow, Scarpetta; her forensic psychologist husband, Benton Wesley; and her niece, Lucy, who has recently formed her own forensic computer investigation firm in New York, will undertake a harrowing chase through cyberspace and the all-too-real streets of the city—an odyssey that will take them at once to places they never knew, and much, much too close to home.

Throughout, Cornwell delivers shocking twists and turns, and the kind of cutting-edge technology that only she can provide. Once again, she proves her exceptional ability to entertain and enthrall.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I ended up reading this almost by accident and against my better judgement after the really poor experience with the last few books in the series. I don’t know why I downloaded it but it somehow ended up being the last book on my Kindle and it was easier to give it a go than start the process of looking for new books.

I was very surprised to find myself enjoying it! It’s a great return to the characters that I enjoyed in earlier books. Benton is still disappointing but Lucy is more engaging. There are a number of interesting characters specific to the story as well as a reintroduction of Jaime Berger from an earlier book. The tension of the relationship between Marino and Kay is handled really well and I hope it can be resolved completely in later books.

The actual story is also very good and quite compelling to read. The handling of Oscar’s story in particular was very good. Pacing is excellent once you get past the initial Oscar/Kay meeting and the unfortunately standard angst between Benton and Kay in the first quarter of the book. Once past this I found the story pretty gripping and flew through the second half in particular.

This book has finally restored my faith in the series and with another eight left I think I’ll give the next one a go as well – ever the optimist!

Header image by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels

death du jour

Death du Jour (Temperance Brennan #2) by Kathy Reichs.

From Goodreads:

Assaulted by the bitter cold of a Montreal winter, the American-born Dr. Temperance Breman, Forensic Anthropologist for the Province of Quebec, digs for a corpse where Sister Elisabeth Nicolet, dead over a century and now a candidate for sainthood, should lie in her grave. A strange, small coffin, buried in the recesses of a decaying church, holds the first clue to the cloistered nun’s fate. The puzzle surrounding Sister Elisabeth’s life and death provides a welcome contrast to discoveries at a burning chalet, where scorched and twisted bodies await Tempe’s professional expertise. Who were these people? What brought them to this gruesome fate? Homicide Detective Andrew Ryan, with whom Tempe has a combustive history, joins her in the arson investigation. From the fire scene they are drawn into the worlds of an enigmatic and controversial professor, a mysterious commune, and a primate colony on a Carolina island.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Good but not great. It’s a decent story but the first third reminded me far too much of Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta. I’m not sure which character came first but I was frustrated that the two were beginning to morph and Tempe was becoming a bitter and depressive character like Kay.

Once she returns to South Carolina the story takes a bit of a shift and definitely for the better. The tone of the story lifts and while still dark it becomes more of a crime investigation thriller which I enjoy a lot more. I find the detailed forensics descriptions very technical, difficult to follow and a bit dull.

There are three storylines working alongside each other. While they are connected I find the connections a bit contrived and it’s stretching coincidence to the maximum to make them believable.

I do think I will read more of this series as it has potential. Hopefully it gets better and doesn’t degrade further. I wasted a lot of time reading Kay Scarpetta and don’t intend to do the same again!

el camino: a breaking bad movie

From IMDb:

Finally free from torture and slavery at the hands of Tod’s uncle Jack, and from Mr. White, Jesse must escape demons from his past. He’s on the run from a police manhunt, with his only hope of escape being Saul Goodman’s hoover guy, Ed Galbraith. A man who for the right price, can give you a new identity and a fresh start. Jesse is racing against the clock, with help from his crew, avoiding capture to get enough money together to buy a ‘new dust filter for his Hoover MaxExtract PressurePro model’, a new life.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This story picks up immediately from the events of the Breaking Bad finale and Jesse’s escape from the crime gang. It follows his attempts to put everything behind him and start again. But to move forward he must look back and confront some of his own demons.

I really enjoyed this as it gave Jesse a chance to become more than just the sullen teenager that he is for much of the original series. He’s changed by his captivity and it’s great to see him do more than get stoned and say “yo!” and “bitch“. We see a deeper character in this movie.

I also loved seeing so many of the old characters back for one more spin. Todd’s weight change and Joe’s rapid aging are a bit jarring but apart from that it’s believable. Mike was always one of my favourite characters from both Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul but I absolutely loved Badger and Skinny this time around. They, Skinny in particular, proved themselves to be Jesse’s true friends.

This is a fitting end to Jesse’s story and a project worth doing. Felina was Walt’s final chapter and I’m glad Jesse got to finish his story too.

book of the dead

Book of the Dead (Kay Scarpetta #15) by Patricia Cornwell

From Goodreads:

Soon after relocating to Charleston, S.C., to launch a private forensics lab, Scarpetta is asked to consult on the murder of U.S. tennis star Drew Martin, whose mutilated body was found in Rome. Contradictory evidence leaves Scarpetta, the Italian carabinieri and Scarpetta’s lover, forensic psychologist Benton Wesley, stumped.

But when she discovers unsettling connections between Martin’s murder, the body of an unidentified South Carolina boy and her old nemesis, the maniacal psychiatrist Dr. Marilyn Self, Scarpetta encounters a killer as deadly as any she’s ever faced.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

I kind of downloaded this by mistake and then read it against my own better judgement. However, it ended up being better than I expected. Maybe I had low expectations though?

This book is kind of a return to the style of writing that made Cornwell’s earlier Scarpetta stories interesting but not quite to the same level. Kay is marginally better, Lucy is a lot better and more mature, Benton is unrecognisable from his early days and Marino has become a complete asshole. Dr. Self was the most interesting character as well as Rambo, the killer.

Not the best but certainly not the worst. Hardly a ringing endorsement but it’s the best I have!

deja dead

Deja Dead (Temperance Brennan #1) by Kathy Reichs

From Goodreads:

Her life is devoted to justice; for those she never even knew. In the year since Temperance Brennan left behind a shaky marriage in North Carolina, work has often preempted her weekend plans to explore Quebec. When a female corpse is discovered meticulously dismembered and stashed in trash bags, Temperance detects an alarming pattern and she plunges into a harrowing search for a killer. But her investigation is about to place those closest to her, her best friend and her own daughter, in mortal danger…

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

This was a good book but I found it hard to get into. Nothing much seemed to be happening for the first half/two thirds of the story but it did definitely pick up towards the finish. The story skips around quite a bit which makes it a difficult one to read in small chunks and the style also doesn’t lend itself to reading one chapter at a time. The introduction of a lot of unfamiliar Canadian police and political organisations and acronyms compounded this.

My other issue was the unavoidable comparisons to Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series. I had read a few of this Temperance Brennan series a number of years ago and found them quite good and when I went back looking for them found Kay Scarpetta instead. That was unfortunate as Temperance Brennan is a much better series as far as I remember.

Temperance is also a much better character and despite some annoying personality characteristics is very likeable. Then there is the permanently pissed off and dismissive Claudel and the smoldering relationship with Ryan. The development of the murderer and the building of the case against him is well done.

I’m expecting to enjoy the rest of the series and possibly consign Kay Scarpetta to the bin once and for all.

Header image by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels

robocop (2014)

From IMDb:

RoboCop (2014)

The year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years – and it’s meant billions for OmniCorp’s bottom line. Now OmniCorp wants to bring their controversial technology to the home front, and they see a golden opportunity to do it. When Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) – a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit – is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer. OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and even more billions for their shareholders, but they never counted on one thing: there is still a man inside the machine pursuing justice.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

It’s hard to watch this reboot and not compare it to the original 1987 movie. In some ways it almost the same but it has been changed. The premise for the creation of a RobCop is different and the corporation involvement has been brought up to date with modern day. Saying that the main storyline of the struggle between man and machine is pretty much the same.

As action movies go it was pretty decent but not outstanding. The special effects are pretty good and the action scenes short but good. The last 20-30min are probably the best of the whole movie.

The two most familiar actors are Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson. They both play baddies. Keaton is the obvious bad guy but Jackson is the subtle manipulating media that’s very relevant in today’s modern world.

If you liked this then make sure you go back and watch the 1987 original at some stage.

I can’t decide if the final theme song played over the credits was tongue in cheek or not but it’s definitely inspired 😊

ritual

Ritual (Jack Caffrey #3, The Walking Man #1, Flea Marley #1) by Mo Hayder

From Goodreads:

Nine feet under water, police diver Flea Marley closes her gloved fingers around a human hand. The fact that there’s no body attached is disturbing enough—until the discovery of the matching appendage a day later. Both hands have been freshly amputated, and there are indications that the victim was still alive when they were removed.

Newly seconded to the Major Crime Investigation Unit in Bristol, DI Jack Caffery soon establishes that the hands belong to a young man who has recently disappeared. As Caffery and Marley search for the rest of the victim—and for his abductor—they journey into the darkest recesses of Bristol’s underworld, where drug addiction is rife, street kids sell themselves for a hit, and a disturbing occult ritual may be making an unexpected appearance.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

One of the very best books I’ve read in a long time! The author has taken her familiar character and turned him upside down by moving him out of London and into a new city in Bristol. He hasn’t managed to leave all his baggage behind though so he hasn’t changed completely.

Two new characters have been introduced. One is the very complicated Walking Man who has only been touched upon in this story and with this book being sub-titled as the first installment of “The Walking Man” series we will get to know him better in the future.

The second is Flea Marley and she is as important and central a character as Jack. Another complicated character with a messy background story and again someone we will be meeting again. In an interview with the author she described how she had intended to leave Jack Caffrey aside and develop Flea as a character with her own series but was drawn to bring Jack and her together in the one story. It’s a fantastic result.

All that and then you add in gruesome murders, African occult and a host of other really well written minor characters and it was a story I could hardly put down.

predator

Predator (Kay Scarpetta #14) by Patricia Cornwell

From Goodreads:

Scarpetta, now freelancing with the National Forensic Academy in Florida, digs into a case more bizarre than any she has ever faced, one that has produced not only unusual physical evidence, but also tantalizing clues about the inner workings of an extremely cunning and criminal mind.

She and her team — Pete Marino, Benton Wesley, and her niece, Lucy — track the odd connections between several horrific crimes and the people who are the likely suspects. As one psychopath, safely behind bars and the subject of a classified scientific study at a Harvard-affiliated psychiatric hospital, teases Scarpetta with tips that could be fact — or fantasy — the number of killers on the loose seems to multiply. Are these events related or merely random? And what can the study of one man’s brain tell them about the methods of a psychopath still lurking in the shadows?

My Rating: ⭐ ⭐

I can’t say I hated this book but I really did dislike a lot about it. Once again it feels badly written. The story has a lot of promise to it, the concept is really good and the killer’s true nature is a good reveal at the end but the author simply develops it badly.

The story starts with a big jump from where the last one left off and there’s no explanation how everyone got to where they did. Marino has turned back into a hateful arsehole and Lucy is off the rails. At least Lucy’s behaviour is explained but that just creates another melodramatic showdown between Kay and Benson that fizzles out before being ignored.

There’s a good buildup in the third quarter of the book that feels like it’s finally going to be a good story but then too much happens too quickly and too many reveals happen too easily with no explanation. With the way Basil’s story was chopped off at the end I’m really struggling to understand the point of his character at all. All the scenes between himself and Benton are simply a waste of the reader’s time.

Some of the investigative sections, particularly with Kay, are really well written and I wish the author would go back to that and forget all the other stuff that she doesn’t seem to be particularly good at.

In my review of Blow Fly #12 I said the following and it pretty much applies here too:

The ending though is terrible! Another reviewer described it as if the author had to go home early and asked her secretary to finish it off for her which is exactly what it feels like – rushed and incomplete and completely unfulfilling.

I have a feeling this may be the end of the road for me with this series.

the treatment

The Treatment (Jack Caffrey #2) by Mo Hayder

From Goodreads:

Midsummer, and in an unassuming house on a quiet residential street on the edge of Brockwell Park in south London, a husband and wife are discovered. Badly dehydrated, they’ve been bound and beaten, the husband is close to death. But worse is to come: their young son is missing.

When DI Jack Caffery of the Met’s AMIT squad is called in to investigate, the similarities to events in his own past make it impossible for him to view this new crime with the necessary detachment. And as Jack digs deeper, as he attempts to hold his own life together in the face of ever more disturbing revelations about both the past and the present, the real nightmare begins…

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is an excellent book. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is that it takes a little while to develop momentum but it definitely rocks along when it does!

This is no easy reader though, it’s very, very dark and right to the very end. Jack Caffrey himself is carrying a huge amount of mental baggage and is on the verge of a mental breakdown for most of the book. Pretty much everyone in this book is either going through intense mental and physical stress or is causing it through sheer evil.

The storyline is horrific in a lot of the subject matter it covers (murder, rape, child abduction, torture, paedophilia) and the style of writing pushes the book close to the horror genre as opposed to simply a thriller. In fact Benedicte’s story reminded me quite a lot of Stephen King’s “Cujo” with the mother and child trapped in the car.

The way the author constructs this story makes it very fast paced. The story is being told from 3-4 different aspects as it charges to a conclusion from about the middle of the book. Despite the very difficult subject matter I found it very difficult to put down and would easily rate it as one of the best I’ve read for quite a while. It won’t be for everyone though!